As the lead ship, Dosan Ahn Changho and her sisters will play an active role as the country’s strategic weapon system against threats.

August 2021 marks an important milestone for Korea’s shipbuilding industry. On the 13th, the Republic of Korea Navy (ROK) commissioned its first indigenously built Dosan Ahn Changho class submarine (known as the KSS III program). The vessel has been named after South Korean independence leader Dosan Ahn Chang-ho. The South Korean Navy claims that Dosan Ahn Changho is capable of firing submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) to enhance the country’s underwater defense capabilities.

The boat has a submerged displacement of about 3,750 tons, a length of 83.5 m, a beam of 9.6 m, and a draft of 7.62 m. She is the largest submarine in the inventory of the Republic of Korea Navy.

ROKS Dosan Ahn Chang-ho
ROKS Dosan Ahn Chang-ho

Dosan Ahn Changho’s propulsion system is a Diesel-electric system, driving a low noise skew back propeller. Its maximum submerged speed is 20 knots, and the cruising range at economic speed is 10,000 nautical miles. The crew consists of 50 sailors.

KSS-III Batch 1 submarines are fitted with eight 533-mm torpedo tubes as well as 6x VLS tubes. They would accommodate a future cruise missile, possibly a Cheon Ryong with a range of 1,500 km, in development by LIG Nex1, while the launchers would be provided by Doosan. Dosan Ahn Changho is the first submarine in the South Korean navy to have this kind of capability.

It was announced earlier in the program that Spanish company INDRA was selected to provide its electronic defense system PEGASO, and Babcock of the UK would design and manufacture the Weapon Handling System for the Batch-I submarines. French companies Safran is supplying the optronic masts for the class and ECA Group the steering consoles. Other South Korean content include the flank array sonars and the combat management system.


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